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Why would Jesus say that people were told to hate their enemies?

The Old Testament clearly teaches the people to Love Their Enemies, so where did this teaching come from, that Jesus is refuting?

Exodus 23:4-5
“If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it."

Matthew 5:43 - 48

ESV - 43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Clarify Share Report Asked February 18 2021 Mini Grant Abbott

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to love their neighbors as themselves. However, this apparently extended only to fellow Israelites, since God, at the same time, commanded the Israelites on numerous occasions to completely destroy various pagan peoples or nations who had actively opposed or fought against the Israelites, or who would draw the Israelites away from God if left alive to dwell among them. So those peoples or nations were apparently not to be regarded as "neighbors" in the sense of the commandment to Israel, but instead as enemies, and, in fact, were to be hated by the Israelites.

In the New Testament, Jesus instructed His followers in the Sermon on the Mount to love their enemies, just as God showed mercy to both the just and unjust. He also expanded on the meaning of this commandment through the parable of the good Samaritan (which He told in specific response to the question, "Who is my neighbor?") to include not only personal friends, or even fellow Israelites, but even people whom we would regard (or who would commonly regard us) as enemies (as the Israelites and the Samaritans generally viewed each other).

February 19 2021 1 response Vote Up Share Report


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